K. K. BECK – Death in a Deck Chair. Iris Cooper #1. Walker & Co., hardcover, 1984. Ivy, paperback, 1987.

   Replete with the vintage scenery of shipboard antics and romance, this book provides an airy, enjoyable read. [The year is 1927 and young Stanford co-ed] Iris Cooper is completing a round-the-world cruise with her aunt aboard the luxury liner Irenia. Shipboard life becomes strained when a rather inconspicuous young man is found knifed in the back while sitting in a deck chair.

   Iris becomes an impromptu amateur detective when the captain accepts her offer to take shorthand during the murder investigation. A blackmail plot is discovered which points to several likely suspects: a seductive screen star vamp with a lurid past; a journalist eager to find a story; a prince traveling incognito; and a mysterious professor.

   An anarchist plot to depose the monarchy in Graznia is disclosed, which is intertwined with the victim’s identity and purpose in traveling aboard this particular ship.

   Light touches of romance pepper this sprightly mystery which evokes a pleasant period ambience. This is a murder for those who favor old-fashioned mysteries.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 6, Number 3 (Fall 1985).

      The Iris Cooper series —

1. Death in a Deck Chair (1984)
2. Murder in a Mummy Case (1986)
3. Peril Under the Palms (1989)